Aug 05, 10
Read from July 25 to August 05, 2010
Guys, I may not make it through this one.
That's a huge admission. I usually read anything that crosses my path, no matter how random. And worse, I actually BOUGHT this, so it's a double-whammy: my book-finishing compulsion paired with a need to have spent my money wisely. But I'm about 1/3 through the book and good lord, it's a slog.
It looked good in theory. Superheroes? Yay! Wry humour? Excellent! Watchmen-y? Sure, why not, I enjoyed that graphic novel. But this is just excruciating -- it's not an origin story, it's a historical biography, if anything. And even then, it's written in this jaded, post-ironic style that makes me want to throttle myself with a magical gauntlet.
Origin stories are cool because they're all about discovering yourself, that fearful excitement of what is and is not possible, and how people will react. Adventure stories are great because there's always the possibility that it will all go wrong, and the unexpected is around every corner. But what we get served up here is the chronicle of two navel-gazing charisma-vacuums: one middle-aged, 12-time loser supervillain, and one accident victim-made-superhuman who has now joined what is effectively the bizarro-Watchmen. And I can't take much more wry/weary commentary on failed past experiments or long-held grudges, never mind the weird and plodding biography of what appears to be every freaking super-person who crosses our path. Augh! I don't care who the lightning freak dated in college! MOVE ALONG!
It's like a comic book with all the excitement and joy sucked out of it. Think of the old TV Batman with all of the "POW!" and "ZAP!" placards taken out and replaced with "...mull" or "ponder". There is absolutely no oomph. The vast majority of the so-called action is told in retrospect or takes place off-page; if you made this into a movie with the single proviso of no flashbacks, it would not be that far off from an afternoon at a retirement community -- namely, "character sits alone, staring into distance, and meanders through memories in borderline-senile fashion as audience falls asleep". I know this, because as I was trying to read it last night, I had to put it down because I could not stay awake any longer. It was 10 pm on a Saturday.
It's the ultimate in telling rather than showing. And frankly, it's boring the hell out of me.
UPDATE -- turns out the combination of a Kindle and a commute will eventually force me to finish a book. And now I'm finished... I STILL think it's crap.